I've spent the last couple years watching Chinatown's classic Nom Wah Tea Parlor be repeatedly shut down and opened up by the Department of Health, and wondered, with a sick heart, how long it would be before the 90-year-old place closed for good. So the article that appeared in today's Daily News was like a balm to my worries.
Wilson Tang—whose uncle Wally Tang bought the place in 1974, worked in the eatery for 60 years, but retired last year—has left his job in finance to take over the tea parlor. While he preserved the original dining room, Wilson renovated the kitchen, a process that took six months. He is keeping things as they've always been, but making critical changes which I think will help ensure the joint's longevity.
"With Wally's blessing, some additions will be made to both the tea and food menus," reads the article. "Wilson is keeping the same 10 traditional Chinese teas that his uncle always served, but is thinking about adding some more Western flavors, like Earl Grey. Tea is integral to the dim sum experience, Wilson explains, because it washes away the oily taste of the dumplings before the next dish.
"Nom Wah's food menu is being expanded. It used to feature nine traditional items — including ha gow (a traditional Chinese dumpling), woo gork (taro root dumplings) and lo mein (traditional wheat flour noodles) — written on the back of a business card.
"The new menu includes a fried or steamed dim sum sampler with eight pieces, as well as roast pork buns, fried sesame balls, and sweet and sour spare ribs."
Wilson is also going to take advantage of his trendy neighbor, the cocktail lounge Apotheke, which is planning to open a Mexican restaurant called Pulqueria in the vacant space between it and Nom Wah.